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Will’s Pub anniversary reunites an eclectic sect of bygone bands

Waking a scene: Resident Weirdo, History, Vostok, Hurrah, Backhand, Peterbuilt, Dragbody, Destination Daybreak







IKKY ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS A WEEKEND OF REUNIONS with Peterbuilt, Dragbody, Destination Daybreak, Backhand

8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5 | Will’s Pub, 1042 N. Mills Ave. | willspub.org | $10-$16 | 18 and up

with History, Vostok, Resident Weirdo, Hurrah

8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6 | Will’s Pub, 1042 N. Mills Ave. | willspub.org | $10-$16 | 18 and up

From the late ’90s to the mid-2000s, Orlando experienced an abundant sonic harvest when a crop of young bands seemed to sprout prolifically on the stage at Will’s Pub. At the original location, bands like Resident Weirdo, History, Vostok, Hurrah, Backhand, Peterbuilt and Dragbody developed into some of the area’s most notable recurring acts. As these bands set out to reunite this weekend in celebration of Will’s Pub’s 19th anniversary, the most memorable shows weren’t necessarily opening for bigger bands or playing for bigger crowds, but those nights when they shared (and owned) the stage. “Playing with national touring acts was always fun, but I’d say – for the most part – we always had the best time with other Orlando bands,” says Seth Duffala (Hurrah). “Those shows were always a good time because you could relax and enjoy yourself – there wasn’t as much pressure to really nail it (though we always attempted to). We were always heckling one another, but also appreciating what the other musicians were doing alongside us.”

“Our first show at the old Will’s was with Hurrah,” says Matt Caron (History). “We were still [called] Sound the Alarm at the time. They wore shirts that read ‘Sound the Alarm is idiot,’ and we loved it.”

“It was really more of a community thing, watching all of these kids (basically) really create a scene that’s theirs,” says pub owner Will Walker.

Toby Brown (Resident Weirdo) revived his old booking company, Ikky Entertainment, to bring together that eclectic class as if it were a rock & roll high school reunion. “What I loved about the shows back then was the ability to mash things together sometimes and still have these great shows. It was a cool sense of community in the punk/indie/hardcore scene for a while, and Will’s was like a home base for a lot of years.”

Sometimes that meant rearranging the furniture:

“The best show I ever played in Backhand was in 1997 at the old location,” Backhand’s John Duvoisin recalls. “We moved pool tables together and put a big piece of plywood on top of it and used it as a drum riser. I was 15 … and it was one of the first times I played at a real venue. Will made me feel welcome even though I was the goofy teenager in the band with young adults. We played with Peterbuilt and Carlisle, and it was something I will never forget.”

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